Various Artists: SC100
This is Secretly Canadian’s 100th release, finally stamped and shipped out on its 11-year anniversary. But this isn’t a 11-years-of-Secretly-Canadian-budget-blow-out-back-pat. That will likely happen with SC200, The Johnny Cougar Mellencomp. SC100 is more a suspended, freeze-dried nugget of evolution from those humbled beginnings everyone has. For those with a checklist of Hooiser Rock History, take note that SC is the first Indiana label to issue 100 titles. Daydreams are good when thinking of who came before — BRBQ, 700 West, Lamp, Solid Gold or Gulcher — and what they could’ve done if not for being corn-holed by that cruel economy of scales or packing up and leaving the state for brighter times. A few years past its inception, SC albums were never shrink-wrapped, sleeping space doubled as office space and the website address was garbled syntax of tildes and slashes unable to be translated over the phone.
All artists who issued recordings from SC01 (June Panic, Glory Hole) to SC99 (Swearing at Motorists, Last Night Becomes This Morning) were up for inclusion to cover a song by a label mate via the ol’ names-in-a-hat method. So step back a bit just a few years and settle in or dust off those old SC albums to refresh with the originals. While the pre-SC100 discography is packed with Indiana heavies, there have been extended stays and shack-ups in Bloomington by most of the SC roster, be it a few days, or monthly rates at the College Inn, or even more permanent. No one wants to get hokey here, but this is a communal gathering, a family jamboree where each takes a turn, fugs it up a smidge, and pays homage to tourmates of past, or in some takes, to personal strangers. No need to rumble through each track with my own gander, but it’s a gulp of life and worth every penny on this set to hear the swagger yell as Nikki Sudden tears into June’s “See(ing) Double,” just like an apparition of him strolling down Fourth Street, dressed like a million, and swiggin’ a sack at 2pm. You wouldn’t have seen that from the booth window, though Sudden did make his way down to that corner late one night.